In this corner, weighing 165 pounds: Brad Fife, Sunday school
In that corner, weighing .10 pounds: the champion, fuddy-duddy
Sunday school curriculum.
Who’ll come out as the champion? Will kids conquer their yawns and
actually learn something, or will they squirm in their chairs while
the lesson drones on for an interminable 45 minutes?
If your Sunday school curriculum is decreed by your denomination
or imposed by a board and turns out to be dull, boring,
pencil-and-paper work, you can conquer it. If your curriculum calls
for kids to simply read a passage, answer rote questions, or fill
out worksheets, go to your corner and come out swinging with these
KNOCK OUT READING MATERIAL
*Shorten it. Form groups of two or three. Assign a
paragraph or short section to each group. Tell groups the reading
material is too long and you want them to make it really short.
They should put as much information as possible into 10 words or
less. When groups are finished, have them each read the shortened
*Order it. Photocopy the reading material and cut it into
paragraphs. Glue each paragraph to a piece of construction paper.
Attach a string to the construction paper so kids can wear each
paragraph like a necklace. Make one for each child. Give each child
a part of the lesson. Have them reassemble the story by lining up
the paragraphs in the correct order.
*Relay it. Form teams of two to five. Have a small
platform, stage, or milk crate for each team. Give each team an
assortment of costumes or props that might suit the reading
material. For instance, if you’re reading about a missionary in
China, include chopsticks, a Bible, a flashlight (light of the
Word), a crown (kingdom of heaven), a boat, and rice. Teams don’t
need the same props.
Have teams line up at a starting line with their props and a copy
of the reading material. Teams must read the first paragraph of the
material, choose a costume or props that fit that paragraph and
send one costumed child to the stage with the props and reading
material. When teams each have their player on stage, have the
players read the first paragraph in unison and then run back to
their teams to prepare the next paragraph. Continue as long as
interest is high.
TAKE A SWING AT QUESTIONS
*Play spoons. Collect a plastic spoon for each child.
With a permanent marker, write a number on each spoon’s bowl.
Number small slips of paper to match the spoons.
Have kids sit in a circle with the spoons in the center. Ask the
lesson’s first question. Play music. Stop the music suddenly as in
Musical Chairs. When the music stops, have each child grab a spoon.
Draw a number from the small slips of paper. Have the person who
grabbed the spoon with that number answer the question and keep his
or her spoon. Have kids put the rest of the spoons back in the
center. Continue until all the questions are answered.
*Pass musical envelopes. Write each question on a
different 3X5 card and tack the cards to a bulletin board. Write
the answer to each question on a different 3X5 card and place the
cards in separate envelopes.
Have kids stand in a circle. Give one envelope to each child. Read
the first question from one of the cards on the bulletin board.
Play music. Have kids pass the envelopes one by one around the
circle. When the music stops, have kids open their envelopes. Have
the child with the answer to the question tack the answer on the
bulletin board next to the appropriate question. Place the cards in
the envelopes and play again. Continue until all the questions are
*Run for the answer. Write the answers to questions on
sheets of brightly colored paper and hang them on the walls. Read a
question and say “go.” Kids run to put their hands on the right
answer. This works best with one- or two-word answers such as “Who
denied Jesus? Peter.”
*Act it out. Form two teams. Give one team all the
questions and the other team all the answers. Have the team with
the questions act out the first question Charades-style. When the
other team thinks it knows the answer, act out the answer also.